Strange Fellowe: The Director

posted by Jerome Parker, librettist

What more can I say about Andrew Russell that I haven’t already?

We were introduced through a mutual friend as I was looking for a director to helm a short of mine at the Downtown Urban Theater Festival.  I will say this – there is nothing urban about Andrew – yet he was game and dove in with a cast of four including one blues/r&b singer.  I’ve seen that piece on its feet now in many different incarnations and the one he directed remains the best in my memory.  Part of the reason it sticks out so positively is the way he runs the rehearsal process.

In the room Andrew is giving, he’s open, he’s ambitious AND realistic.  He is a confident leader and knows how to take the temperature of a space and make adjustments accordingly to bring the heat or the chill that’s necessary.  He’s smart, sharp and sassy – and the great head on his shoulders is capped by a lustrous mane of hair.

It’s been my pleasure to help unleash the creature that is Mr. Russell upon my fellow collaborators for Strange Fellowe.  And I believe I can speak on behalf of my cohorts – everyone is in love with him.

We are now at the end of our third day of rehearsals for the workshop production of our jazz opera and not only has my admiration for him grown but also my fascination. In only three days I’m watching a set being put together in front of my eyes where there was none.  The lighting designer is finding creative and funky ways to illuminate the space.  The video designer has presented an animation storyboard for the projections that will be blasted on the curtains in the space.  All of this would not have been possible without his sure-handed guidance, his appreciation of other’s talents, and his acerbic wit – which always lightens the mood in the face of tense and tough situations.

Andrew in action…

Yes – we open in two days!

Thank you, Andrew, for taking the wheel.

And if you think I’ve waxed too poetically about his inimitable assets as a leader and director – don’t take my word for it.  Take a look at an article he wrote some time ago that sums up his largeness in more detail:  http://www.intiman.org/what-have-i-done-by-andrew-russell-for-city-arts-magazine/

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